1. On his own chain of transmission Shaykh Saduq narrates that Imam al-Baqir (as) said,
«کان صومه قبل شهر رمضان، فلمّا نزل شهر رمضان ترك.»
“The fast of the day of ‘Ashura used to be observed before the Qur’anic verse about the fast of the holy month of Ramadan, but after that it was discontinued.”19
2. Kulayni on his own chain of transmission narrates from both Imam al-Baqir (as) and Imam al-Sadiq (as) that they said,
«لا تصم في عاشوراء، ولا عرفة بمکة، ولا في المدينة، ولا في وطنك، ولا في مصر من الامصار.»
“On the days of ‘Ashura and ‘Arafah, do not fast whether you are in Medina, your hometown, or any other city.”20
3. Kulayni has also narrated that he asked Imam al-Baqir (as) about fasting on the day of ‘Ashura. Answering his question, Imam al-Baqir (as) said,
«صوم متروك بنزول شهر رمضان، والمتروك بدعة.»
“This is a fast which was discontinued after the Qur’anic verse enacting the fast of the holy month of Ramadan was revealed. Doing that which is abandoned is an act of innovation.”21
The narrator (Kulayni) says, “I asked this same question from Imam al-Sadiq’s (as) father, too. He gave the same answer as Imam al-Sadiq (as) and added,
«أما انّه صوم يوم ما نزل به کتاب، ولا جرت به سنّة، الاّ سنّة آل زياد بقتل الحسين بن علي.»
‘Beware! This is a fast about which no Qur’anic verse has been revealed and is not an observed way of conduct. It was only the way of conduct for the partisans of Ziyad when they killed al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali (as)’.”
4. Kulayni again on his own chain of transmission narrates that ‘Abd al-Malik said, “I asked Imam al-Sadiq (as) about fasting on the ninth day of Muharram and the day of ‘Ashura. Imam al-Sadiq said, ‘The ninth day is the day when al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali (as) and his companions got besieged and surrounded by the enemy.
It was the day that the mounted soldiers of Sham were enlisted and brought to Karbala where they camped. Ibn Marjanah and ‘Umar ibn Sa‘d were very pleased because of the great numbers of mounted soldiers and considered al-Husayn (as) and his companions as weak. They believed that no help would come for al-Husayn (as) because the people of Iraq would not help him.
O my Father! May I be sacrificed for you, O you who were oppressed in a foreign land!’ Then, Imam al-Sadiq continued, ‘However, the day of ‘Ashura is the day when al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali (as) fell to the ground (was martyred) along with all his companions. Should fasting be observed on such a day? Never at all!
I swear upon the Lord of the Sacred House (the Ka‘bah)! Such a day is not a day for fasting. That day is only reserved for sorrow and mourning that has been inflicted on the inhabitants of the skies and the earth altogether. It is a day of happiness and pleasure for the son of Marjanah and Ibn Ziyad’s partisans and the people of Sham.
Allah’s curse be on them and their offspring. The day of ‘Ashura is a day when all the tombs and mausoleums of the earth except the tombs of Sham cry for al-Husayn. Therefore, Allah will unite on the Day of Resurrection anyone who fasts on that day or looks upon that day as a day of celebration with Ibn Ziyad and his partisans, discontent with a transformed heart…’”22
5. Kulayni also quotes from Ja‘far ibn ‘Isa that he said, “I asked Imam al-Rida (as) about fasting on the day of ‘Ashura. I also asked his opinion about what people say about this fast. The Imam (as) said,
«عن صوم ابن مرجانة تسألني.»
‘You are asking me about the fast of the son of Marjanah?’”23
6. On his own chain of transmission, Kulayni quotes from Zayd Narsi that he said, “I heard ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Zurarah asking Imam al-Sadiq about fasting on the day of ‘Ashura. Imam al-Sadiq (as) replied saying,
«من صامه کان حظّه من صيام ذلك اليوم حظّ ابن مرجانة وآل زياد.»
‘The reward for anyone fasting on that day will be given to the son of Marjanah and Ibn Ziyad’s partisans’.”24
Zayd says, “I asked what the reward of fasting on that day is.’ The Imam (as) replied,
«النار، اعاذنا الله من النار، ومن عمل يقرب من النار.»
“The Fire, may Allah save us from the Fire. Anyone who fasts on the day of ‘Ashura has made himself nearer to the Fire.”25
19. Man la Yahduruhu al-Faqih, vol. 2, p. 51, hadith 224; Wasa’il al-Shi‘ah, vol. 10, p. 452, hadith 1.
20. Al-Kafi, vol. 4, p. 146, hadith 3; Wasa’il al-Shi‘ah, vol. 10, p. 462, section [bab] 41, hadith 6.
21. Al-Kafi, vol. 4, p. 146, hadith 4; Wasa’il al-Shi‘ah, vol. 10, p. 461, section [bab] 21, hadith 5.
22. Al-Kafi, vol. 4, p. 147, hadith 7; Wasa’il al-Shi‘ah, vol. 10, p. 459, section [bab] 21, hadith 2.
23. Al-Kafi, vol. 4, p. 146, hadith 5; Wasa’il al-Shi‘ah, vol. 10, p. 460, section [bab] 21, hadith 3.
24. Al-Kafi, vol. 4, p. 147, hadith 6; Wasa’il al-Shi‘ah, vol. 10, p. 461, section [bab] 21, hadith 4.
Adapted from: "The Uprising of Ashura and Responses to Doubts" by: "‘Ali Asghar Ridwani"